Get to Know the Deadly Rinkhals Snake: A Closer Look - Snake

Get to Know the Deadly Rinkhals Snake: A Closer Look


The Rinkhals Snake, also known as the Ring-necked Spitting Cobra, is a deadly, yet fascinating snake found in parts of southern Africa. While it resembles a typical cobra with its hooded neck and venomous bite, the Rinkhals Snake has a few unique characteristics that set it apart from the typical cobra species.

Physical characteristics

The Rinkhals Snake is typically black or dark brown with a distinct white or yellow ring around its neck, giving it the name “Ring-necked Spitting Cobra.” It can grow up to 1.5 meters in length and is known for its large, round eyes which appear almost comical when it raises its head to spray venom.


The Rinkhals Snake can be found in grasslands, savannahs, and other open areas in southern Africa, from South Africa to Zimbabwe. They also tend to prefer areas near water, such as rivers or dams, where prey is abundant. Despite their venomous nature, Rinkhals Snakes often find themselves in residential areas, hunting rodents and other small animals that may have taken up residence in suburban or urban spaces.


Unlike other cobras, the Rinkhals Snake prefers to flee when threatened. However, when provoked, they will raise their head and hood, spit venom up to 2 meters in distance, and even play dead if necessary. They are also known for their unique defensive behavior known as “sneezing,” where they exhale forcefully to expel any foreign objects or irritants that may have entered their nostrils.


The venom of the Rinkhals Snake is highly toxic and can cause severe pain, swelling, and tissue damage. In some cases, it can also lead to respiratory failure and death. However, despite the potency of the venom, fatalities from Rinkhals Snake bites are rare. This is partly due to their tendency to flee when threatened, and also because their venom glands are smaller than those of other venomous snakes.

Conservation status

The Rinkhals Snake is not currently listed as endangered, but it is threatened by habitat loss due to urbanization and industrial development. As one of the few native snakes in South Africa that is not protected by law, it is often persecuted and killed by humans.

In conclusion, the Rinkhals Snake may be a deadly species, but it is also a unique and fascinating creature. While caution should always be exercised around any venomous snake, taking the time to understand their behavior and habitat can go a long way in reducing human-snake interactions.

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